Holiday Lights Parade a Family Tradition for Many
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 03, 2012, December 03, 2012

Just as the sky grew dark, 6-year-old Dania Thompson spotted Santa Claus' illuminated sleigh.

"There he is,' the Arlington girl told her mom, Melissa, pointing her finger. "I see him.'

The Thompsons were among the thousands who lined Abram Street in downtown Arlington on Saturday night to get a glimpse of Santa and cheer for the giant illuminated floats, antique cars and marching bands of the 2012 Arlington Holiday Lights Parade.

Spectators lounged in lawn chairs, and children chased each other with glow sticks, wearing T-shirts and shorts on the unseasonably warm evening. Nearby, the lawn of Levitt Pavilion filled with people listening to music of choirs from Hill and Swift elementary schools and the Arlington Community Band.

For many, the parade, which debuted in 2002, has become a family holiday tradition. Decorator's Warehouse has sponsored the parade since 2009.

Melissa Thompson said they began attending the parade five or six years ago as a way to ring in the holiday season.

"We never miss it,' she said. "To us, this is the real beginning to the holiday season.'

Thousands of lights twinkled with more than 85 entries, from dancing Elvis impersonators and a giant motorized mouse to hula hoop dancers and drill teams. This year's grand marshal was Arlington police officer Bryan Graham, who made a full recovery after being wounded last summer.

The evening also included the official lighting of the Chesapeake Energy Christmas Tree in front of City Hall and photo opportunities with Santa.

Standing along Abram Street, Roberto Rodriguez lifted his 5-year-old son, Roberto Jr., so he could see the glittering floats. This was their second year to attend the parade, and they said they hope to make the affair an annual event.

"This has a nice, relaxed community atmosphere,' Rodriguez said. "It makes us happy to be in Arlington.'

By Sarah Bahari

Holiday Lights Parade

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